Stella didn’t know why she felt so depressed, she had
everything she wanted and Duncan had stopped his beatings since she’d began
respecting him more and following his rules.
She stood up from the sofa and walked over to turn off the
television, she suddenly missed her daughter so much and a part of her wanted
to talk to Madu, just to know how they were doing. She picked up her phone and
tried remembering Madu’s phone number. It took her quite a while to remember his digits, however, she got the first ten digits but didn’t know if it ended with three or five. She tried with three and it was a wrong
number, so she tried with five and it rang for a while before she heard a gruff
voice which made her heart skip a beat.

“Hello…” Madu said.
“Hi, it’s Stella.” She said.
There was a long pause, then Madu said.
“It’s been a while…I was wondering if you’d forgotten all
about your daughter.”
“I know she’s in good hands…you love your daughter so
much.” She said with a catch in her voice.
“It’s quite late and I can’t put her on the phone, she’s
asleep…” He said.
Stella thought she heard the sound of a motor engine and her
ears pricked.
“Where are you?” She asked.
“I’m travelling for some business.” He said.
Stella was surprised.
“Business? At this time of the night? Madu, what sort of
business are you going for at ten pm?” She asked.
“Look I appreciate it that you’re calling to check up on
your daughter but we’re separated and have been for a while so, you shouldn’t
be so concerned about what I do.”
“I know I’m not supposed to butt into your life but this is
not the Madu that I know. I know you so well and I know that you won’t leave
our daughter alone to go on a business.”
“She’s in safe hands.” Madu assured.
“Please be careful…for our daughter’s sake, please be very
careful. I don’t know whatever business you’re into right now but I don’t have
a good feeling about it especially as it comes with night journeys.” Stella said.
“Good night Stella.” Madu said and hung up the call.
Stella sighed and just then, she heard the sound of Duncan’s
car, she quickly deleted her call logs and any trace that she’s called Madu at
all and flashing a smile, she walked out of the house to greet him.
Duncan was stepping out of his car when Stella hurried up to
meet him.
“Hello honey…how was your day?” She asked with a wide
smile.
The look on Duncan’s face froze her in her tracks.
“What…what is it? What have I done?” Stella’s voice came
forth in a squeak.
Duncan began to walk away from her but stopped midway and turned to stare at her.
“I wanted to leave this till we got inside the house but…”
Duncan sneered. “Since you’re a filthy liar, I’d better address your trash
outside.”
“What are you talking about? Madu…what…” She stammered.
“What did you just call me? Are you still dreaming of your
loser ex husband?” Duncan screamed at her.
“No…I swear, I swear on my life…I don’t dream of him, it
was a slip of tongue…please Duncan…it’s you I love…it’s you…” She
cried.
Duncan looked away for a brief moment and when he turned
back to her, he gave her a loud slap on her cheek that resounded for miles.
Stella felt blood rush into her mouth and she fell to the ground in tears.
“You told me a while ago that you wanted to see Rhoda
because her it was her birthday which was accidentally a month ago right? Fancy me,
finding out that you had told a white lie and that Rhoda’s birthday is actually this month.”
“Duncan…please…I didn’t…”
“Stella, your case is that of the popular saying ‘you can
get the dog out of the gutter but you can’t get the gutter out of the dog’ you
are a dog Stella! You are a filthy, dirty scum of the earth who was tossed out
on the street by your ex husband and even in 
your used state, I took pity on you and brought you into my clean,
beautiful house.” He spat with so much rage.
Stella knelt and begged.
“Please Duncan, it’s not what you think…it’s not what you
think at all. I just wanted to go and see her and all I could think of at that
moment was a birthday…I’m sorry…” She cried.
Duncan spat on her face.
“You disgust me!” He said as he kicked her. “I own you but
you disgust me! You make me wanna puke!”
Stella lay on the ground in tears, she cried and cried.
Duncan stormed up into the house and banged the door. Stella lay there till she
heard a low rumble of thunder and soon, felt rain drops fall on her skin. She
staggered to the door of the house and tried to open it but found that it was
locked.
“Duncan! Please open the door! Please!” She cried as she
left the door and rounded up towards the back door but to her dismay, she found
that it was locked as well.
Stella beat her fists on the door till she felt it grow
numb.
**************
Diamond was at Mitch’s house, she’d come from work just as
she had been doing for the past few weeks.
Mitch sat beside her, his single crutch lay by his side and
he tiredly stared at the television.
“Are you okay? Do you need a glass of water?” Diamond asked
helpfully.
“I’m not a baby…” Mitch said drily.
“I didn’t say you are…I just asked if you’re feeling
dehydrated.”
Mitch turned to stare at the clock.
“It’s already ten pm, don’t you want to go home?” He asked
her quite rudely.
Since the accident and during his recovery, Mitch had erased everything that reminded him of Cherry but her
sister remained so persistent and had refused to leave him to live his life in
peace.
“I…” Diamond started.
“Awww….thank you so much for coming to keep Mitch company.”
Angel said suddenly appearing with a smile as she walked over to hug Diamond who had just stood
from her chair. “The doctor said that he can resume work in a week and thankfully,
his boss at the office has been so kind as he understands that Mitch has to take things one step at a time. He still has to use the crutch for a
bit due to his leg is taking long to heal even though it’s not broken.”
“Yes…I am glad to hear that.” Diamond said and turning to
regard Mitch, she said. “I’ll come to check up on you as often as I can.”
“Whatever…” Mitch said under his breath.
Angel walked Diamond to the door and as soon as she’d left,
she walked back to her brother.
“What’s wrong with you?” Angel asked.
“What’s wrong with who?”
“Why are acting like a child? Since the accident, Diamond
has come to visit countless times but you are always too grumpy to be nice to
her.”
“Her sister is the reason I’m in this state.” He spat.
“You are the reason, you’re in this state!” Angel fired at
him. “I warned you and even mommy did but you threw caution into the wind as
you vowed that you could be with none other than Cherry.”
“Yes…gloat at my misfortune…I’m so unlucky with love.”
Mitch said.
Thunder rumbled and Angel glanced at the windows in
worry.
“I hope Diamond is able to get a cab before the rains
starts.” She said. “Mitch, I don’t mean to be hard on you. I feel so sorry that
this has happened but it’s good that you know who Cherry really is and that she
doesn’t deserve you. Diamond on the other hand has always liked you and I know
that because I see the way she looks at you even while you were still with
Cherry. She really likes you and she’s hidden the love she has for you all to give
her sister the chance to have you to herself. Diamond is a selfless person who appreciates her fellow human being and she’s been here so many times to
prove it.”
“What do you want from me? Do you want me to start dating
her too?”
“I’m not saying that, I’m just saying that it won’t hurt to
be nice to her. She comes here after work and sits by your side for two hours
and you don’t even speak to her in a full sentence. She just keeps talking to you and
you don’t respond. Please don’t throw genuine friendship away…please.”
Mitch looked at his sister and looked away.
“It’s just that Cherry made me feel so much pain….betrayal
and hurt…I never thought she’d do that to me…” Mitch said and broke down in
tears.
“Hey bro…don’t cry for her, she’s not worth it! Has she
even paid you a visit since you were hospitalised? I know we warned her to
steer clear but if she really loved you, she’d have found a way to explain
herself because I know that if it were you, you’d have risked it all to see
her.”
“I feel so bad for pouring the whole anger I feel against
Cherry on Diamond, she’s truly a nice person.” Mitch said with a heavy voice.
“I’m glad you realise how unbearable you were to her.” Angel said with a smile.
*************
Madu sat inside the truck with Sean and soon, they’d left
Lagos with the large truck of plastics. Madu yawned as he felt quite sleepy and
Sean turned to regard him.
“Don’t sleep on me…” Sean said.
“I’m not used to night trips.” Madu said.
“I have something that could keep you awake.” Sean said
gesturing to a small bag at the passenger seat where Madu sat.
“What is it?” Madu asked.
“Open it…” Sean suggested.
Madu opened the bag and saw two bottles of spirits inside.
“Do you mean that I should drink this?” Madu asked.
“You’re not going to use it to have your bath, are you?”
Sean asked.
“No…I mean, it’s quite late to drink.” Madu said.
Sean stretched his hand to Madu so that he’d hand over the
bottle.
“Give me that bottle.” Sean said. “It’s never too late to drink.”
Madu handed the bottle over to Sean and watched as he pulled
off the cork with his mouth and took a long drink while he drove.
“Are you supposed to drink and drive?” Madu asked.
“What are you? A prude? How come you know Anita? She has no
space in her life for lilly livered men like you.”
“Me? Lilly livered?” Madu asked offended at the man’s
condescending tone.”
“Yea…Anita is a tough woman!”
“I protect her so you’d better watch who you’re calling
lilly livered.” Madu spat.
“Hahahahahaaha…you what? You protect who? Anita? Or do you
mean to say that she protects you?”
“I won’t take your insults.” Madu spat.
“I’m not insulting you but you can’t possibly protect Anita
from anything…she’s the boss and the boss is very tough.”
“Really?” Madu started. “Did she tell you why I live in her
home?”
“No, why?” Sean asked clearly amused.
“Her ex-husband sends some men to threaten her from time to
time but this past Sunday, when one of them had come to threaten her again, I
was there and he scampered off.” Madu said, feeling an urge to boast.
“Anita’s ex husband? Rodrigo? How could he have threatened
her?” Sean asked with a loud laugh.
“You know him?” Madu asked in surprise.
“Yes, I do…the guy was Mexican and a very rich dude who
did business in Nigeria.”
“Why do you refer to him in past tense?” Madu asked.
Sean took another long drink again and pressed the horn of
the truck loudly as he sped down the paved road.
“That’s because he’s dead. Anita is presently managing some
part of his business here in Nigeria…and she’s used some of that money to finance her other businesses.”
Madu’s mouth opened and closed, he couldn’t believe it.
Anita had scammed him to thinking that she needed protection when in actual
fact, he was the one who needed to be protected from her. His thoughts flew to his
young daughter and he shut his eyes in grief.
He realised that he’d left Kamsi with a very dangerous
Viper.
To be continued tomorrow…
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